Couples looking to adopt orphaned children is rising, but children who are HIV positive have a dearth of prospective foster parents. The Society of Friends of Sassoon General Hospital (SOFOSH) has observed that childcare centres in the city find it difficult to get parents to adopt HIV positive children though for normal children there are more people coming forward to adopt.
At Sassoon alone, there is a waiting list of 100 parents willing to adopt children.
“The number of parents willing to adopt is rising at childcare centres in the city. At our centre, we have a waiting list of 100 parents, but there is a mindset where a majority are unwilling to take children who have any disability,’’ Madhuri Abhyankar, Director at Shreevatsa child care centre run by SOFOSH, told Newsline.
“In all these years we only had one case — a rare one — where a couple in Mumbai adopted an HIV positive boy from Shreevatsa,’’ Abhyankar said. While a US-based couple want to adopt one more HIV positive child, there are no takers for three HIV positive girls. We will now send them to Palawi (Project of Prabha Hari Prathishtan), an orphanage for HIV positive children at Pandharpur, she added.
Sarika Shelke from a Pandharpur-based organisation said they had 78 children living with HIV, and 35 of them are on anti-retroviral treatment. “We had to set up a school for children and recruit five teachers,’’ she said and added that several such children were sent from orphanages where they could not be placed for adoption.
Couples from other countries adopt physically challenged children as they have infrastructure to support them. Mentally challenged children have few takers, says Ritu Dhende, coordinator at Tara-a centre set up by SOFOSH at Pimpale Gurav to look after children with special needs. As many as 32 children with special needs (the oldest is 16) who have ailments like Down’s Syndrome and cerebral palsy are waiting for foster parents.